How to Add a Modern Twist to Any Kitchen Style

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By Jenny Xie / Published by Dwell
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Presented by Moen
It doesn’t always take a full-scale renovation to make a classic kitchen feel more modern.

If you’re looking to modernize your traditional or transitional kitchen, you’ll be glad to hear that your options are plenty. From updates you can execute in an afternoon to projects that require a contractor, here are eight ways you can bring a contemporary touch to your kitchen—while fitting your time and budget constraints.

Rethink the Backsplash

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In addition to protecting the kitchen from splatters and spills, the backsplash has the potential to be the most striking element in the room. From eye-catching mosaics to broad slabs of Carrara marble, its color, material, and pattern can bring a contemporary feel to a traditional or transitional kitchen. Above, a muted honeycomb tile backsplash unifies the color palette while echoing the stainless steel finishes of the appliances, Moen Camerist faucet, and dining table.

Swap Out the Hardware

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If you’re feeling bored with your kitchen cabinets, try replacing the old knobs, handles, and pulls with more modern pieces that refresh the entire look. Above, the polished pulls complement a Moen Walden faucet, tying the vintage-inspired shape into the contemporary era. Depending on whether or not you need to drill new holes, making the switch can take less than an hour.

Find Fresh Lighting Fixtures 

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Modern pendants like the minimalist lamps above help to set the tone and provide task lighting for working or dining. The gently curved saucers balance the variety of textures found in this kitchen, from the natural stone wall to the reflective tile backsplash.

Double the Sink Space 

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If you have the square footage, consider installing a second sink to boost the functionality and effectiveness of your kitchen. The extra sink allows more helping hands during the preparation of a large meal and more flexibility in everyday use. Consider where it will be most helpful, whether it be installed on a peninsula, at a wet bar, or a separate breakfast bar, as pictured above. The modern, geometric forms of the Moen 90 Degree faucets also boast a chrome finish that echoes the mirror detail on the sides of the kitchen islands.

Paint the Cabinets 

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When you’re working with a tight budget, your options may be limited. A low-cost way to give your kitchen a makeover, however, is to give the cabinets a fresh coat of paint. White cabinets are at once timeless and of-the-moment. In the above example, they contribute to an airy look and contrast with the island, which has been left dark to match the flooring.

Bring In Natural Light 

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Having a light-filled kitchen not only improves your mood, but also makes it more practical to work in. Choose sheer window treatments, or opt out entirely if privacy is not an issue. Light-colored cabinets will be more reflective as well. Create more openings where you can—put in skylights to allow the sun to stream directly onto countertops, and if the kitchen is adjacent to the outdoors, install glass doors that invite the light in.

Add an Amenity 

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The true mark of a modern kitchen is utility. To bring your kitchen up to speed, consider installing a feature that best suits your specific needs, whether it be built-in pet food bowls in an island recess, a magnetic spice rack above the stove, or an in-counter composting bin. Here, taking advantage of the space above the cooktop is a series of racks to keep the hand towels within reach and a Modern Pot Filler by Moen to save cumbersome trips to the sink.

Lay Down New Flooring 

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An outdated floor can be an eyesore, and more often than not, it needs replacing due to wear and tear. Whether you choose wide oak planking, polished concrete, or slate tiles, make a smart decision that speaks to your budget, the material’s longevity, and the overall design of the kitchen. The light floors above contribute to a bright interior, a counterpoint to the dark cabinets.

Do you have any tips and tricks to share? Let us know in the comments below.